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The red carpet was just the start of Mayor de Blasio’s full-court press Monday to bring the 2016 Democratic National Convention to Brooklyn.
There were two marching bands, swag bags packed with freebies, a New York Water Taxi ride past the Statue of Liberty, and food, lots of it — from lunch at midcourt of the Barclays Center to a dinner with Broadway stars atop the roof of the Met.
And what would a bid to bring the convention to Brooklyn be without some Noo Yawk trash talk?
“There is no place that says the American dream burns brightly better than Brooklyn,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) in welcoming the Democratic National Committee’s site-selection team.
“Like America, they counted us out, but we came back and America’s going to come back, and the convention’s going to symbolize that — that knocks anything that Pennsylvania, Ohio or Arizona could say.”
Philadelphia, Columbus, Ohio, and Phoenix also are vying to host the 2016 spectacle, as is Birmingham, Ala.
The 18 visiting DNC members traveled from Washington, on Amtrak. NYC & Company, the city’s tourism arm, rolled out a red carpet outside Penn Station, before whisking the Dems by bus to the ritzy New York Palace Hotel on Madison Ave.
Previewing the plan for conventioneers, the DNC team then got their own personal traffic lanes from midtown Manhattan to downtown Brooklyn.
With cops closing off parts of Second Ave., Chrystie and Delancey Sts., and Flatbush Ave, the normally hellish, traffic-clogged slog was slashed to 14 minutes, less than half of what it would be normally.
The DNC team disembarked to a pep rally. A marching band from the after school program Brooklyn United played Kool & the Gang’s “Celebration” as 51 smiling city kids in red-white-and-blue bow ties waved flags from each state and Puerto Rico.
Schumer, Police Commissioner William Bratton and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito took turns extolling New York and Brooklyn.
Schumer’s message: Come to Brooklyn — because everyone else is.
“We are in touch with our future generations and future needs,” he said.
“Millions of Americans, new Americans, young migrating Americans are flooding here to eat, think, create, laugh, love and work in an environment that is tolerant, fertile and exhilarating.”
The DNC team toured Barclays, where the convention would be held, and chowed down on Brooklyn delicacies served by white-gloved waiters.
There were fish tacos from Calexico, Cuban sandwiches from Habana, brisket burgers from Brooklyn Bangers and cheesecake from Junior’s.
Noticeably absent was de Blasio, who was at Gracie Mansion, hosting a task force for the US Conference of Mayors on income inequality.
He joined the DNC team later Monday on a tour of Brooklyn Bridge Park — where they ran into some technical difficulties.
A tram being used to transport the DNC officials to a pier would not budge, so Dan Gross, a City Hall official, gave it a push. “They don’t do this in Columbus,” he joked.
Later, the DNC officials took a water taxi, and enjoyed a police escort to the final event of the day — a gala on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
“The conversation was great and what city is going to show the delegates a view like that?” Schumer said.
There is another packed day Tuesday, including a ride on the B train to the Barclays Center, a tour of Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center, and a barbeque hosted by de Blasio at Gracie Mansion.
Party insiders believe Brooklyn is a serious contender for the convention, but that Philadelphia might have an edge because Pennsylvania is a swing state, while New York is reliably Democratic.
Asked if New York had locked down the bid, de Blasio laughed, “Long road ahead.”
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